Money Matters: Holiday travel, election's impact on the stocks

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November 8, 2012, 7:59 am
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(NECN/AP) - Here's a rundown of the morning's top business headlines, which may impact stock performance:

- Stocks dip after re-election


Stocks are coming off their worst selloff of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 313 points Wednesday, ending the session at 12,933.
 
The S&P 500 fell 34 points to 1,395, while the Nasdaq composite index declined 75 points to 2,937.
 
American voters returned a divided government to power and left investors worrying about tax increases and spending cuts that could stall the economy unless Congress acts. In Europe, leaders warned that unemployment could remain high for years.
 
The losses were broad. Falling stocks overwhelmed rising ones five-to-one on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was heavier than usual at 4.3 billion shares.

- Apple shares drop 20 percent from peak


Apple's stock is in its own bear market.
 
The stock of the world's most valuable company has now fallen more than 20 percent from its all-time high of $705.07, hit on Sept. 21. That was the day the latest iPhone went on sale.
 
The sell-off comes as Apple readies other new products for sale, including the iPad Mini. The Cupertino, Calif., company warned late last month that the costs of making new gadgets would cut into profit in its holiday quarter.
 
Apple still enjoys the world's heftiest market capitalization, or the total value of its stock.
 
Apple shares dropped nearly 4 percent Wednesday to $558.

- Fidelity: 401(k) average balance grows


The nation's largest administrator of 401(k) plans says account balances grew an average 4 percent in the last quarter. That's due to a rising stock market, as well as increased contributions from workers and their employers.
 
Fidelity Investments said on Thursday that the average balance among the 12 million accounts it administers was $75,900 as of the end of September. That's up from $72,800 at the end of June.
 
The latest quarter's figure is the largest since Fidelity began tracking account averages 12 years ago.
 
Stocks rose nearly 6 percent in the latest quarter, boosting investment returns in 401(k)s. The accounts typically hold a mix of stocks and bonds.
 
Account contributions from employees' paycheck deductions also rose in the latest quarter, as did matching contributions from their employers.

- Johnnie's Foodmaster to close


A small family-owned Massachusetts grocery store chain has agreed to sell the leases to all six of its locations to natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market Inc.
 
Chelsea-based Johnnie's Foodmaster says it will close all its stores prior to the expected Nov. 30 close of the transaction.
 
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods said Friday it intends to remodel the stores in Weymouth, Arlington, Charlestown, Brookline, Melrose and Somerville and reopen them before the end of its 2013 fiscal year.
 
Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, but Whole Foods has guaranteed interviews to all Johnnie's Foodmaster employees and plans to hire as many as possible.
 
Johnnie's President John DeJesus said the opportunity to sell to a company like Whole Foods made a tough decision much easier.

- Thanksgiving travel is already busy


Thanksgiving time air travelers in the U.S. may not feel like they have much to be thankful for.
 
A trade group says Americans can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever. The forecast comes from the main trade association for U.S. airlines two weeks ahead of the holiday. Fares are already up from a year ago as well.
 
The group, Airlines for America, expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly from Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27. That's up slightly from a year ago. Last year's tally was flat from 2010. Traffic on the nation's airlines is still 10 percent below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007.
 
For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full. That would be a record for the holiday. That forecast is an average, so expect most flights at peak hours to be completely full.
 
Sunday, Nov. 25 is projected as the busiest travel day, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Monday, Nov. 26.

- Turkeys still cheap, despite seasonal drought


When it comes time to buy the bird for the big feast, Thanksgiving won't break the bank.

Turkey prices are up just five cents from two years ago, despite the drought across much of the country, which has driven up feed prices.

Many retailers locked in costs in the spring, while feed was cheaper.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Tags: thanksgiving, Apple, stocks, business , money, Money Matters, Stock Market, Turkey, Fidelity, Holiday Travel, Thanksgiving travel, Election 2012, the morning show, Thanksgiving turkey, Johnnie's
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